Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing… Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

by | January 11, 2014 | Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker | 1 comment

(the following post first appeared on WriteSex)

Okay, to be honest: I used to be extremely anti-Twitter.

It’s not like I’ve done a complete turnaround—far from
it—but I’ve begun to use it more seriously, and …I have to grudgingly
admit that it can be an effective social media tool.

While I am still fairly new to tweet-tweet-tweeting, I
can’t but help notice a lot of authors making what I think are serious
mistakes. Part of that, of course, is because twitter is
counterintuitive to the way writers think. Unlike blogs and other forms
of social media, twitter is ephemeral: tweets coming and going in the
space of a few seconds…with few people taking the time to backtrack on
what anyone is saying.

This means that quantity is key to tweeting; zapping out a
tweet, say, every few days or weeks or only when you have a book or
story coming out is pretty much pointless. Even if you have a huge
audience of loyal followers, tweeting infrequently means that you will
have an very small percentage of that audience who happen to be looking
at their Twitter feed for your short pearls of wisdom, or important book
announcements, the moment you send them—and that moment, O infrequent
tweeter, is the only one you’ve given yourself. To make effective use of
Twitter you not only need to tweet every day, you need to tweet several
times a day.

And then there’s the question of what you’re
tweeting. Yes, you need to talk about your writing; yes, you need to
post book announcements; yes, you need to praise your publisher; yes,
you need to scream about good reviews…but you also need to come across
as a person. So, share interesting information about yourself, share
pieces of your writing that you aren’t necessarily trying to sell, talk
to your followers as if they were friends (though, not necessarily the
kind of friends to whom you’d say anything), rather than potential customers…get my drift? Your followers are interested in your work, but they’re also interested in you.

One thing I’ve been doing—though probably not as much as I
should—is a Fun Fact thread: sharing tidbits about little ol’ me that
people might find interesting. Hopefully it makes my feed seem a lot
less stridently I’M A WRITER READ MY WRITINGS and more human,
intriguing, and engaging.

Fortunately, frequent tweeting with varied messages isn’t
as hard as it sounds. You don’t have log in to  your twitter account
multiple times and send out each tweet manually. With the right tool you
can post a half dozen tweets or more all at the same time, and have
them sent out every few hours. One of the best tools I’ve found for this
(and, no, this isn’t a commercial) is called Hootsuite; it’s a
web-based twitter aggregator that allows me to post, schedule, track,
and do other fun things, and from more than one Twitter account (which
is handy, since I work for a publisher and send out tweets about myself
as well about them). The scheduling feature is very handy: I can create
multiple tweets and then copy and paste them into Hootsuite’s
scheduler—and program them to pop up over the span of a few hours or
even days.

Of course, you don’t want the tweets to be mind-numbingly
similar and spammy. No one—ever—wants to listen to a commercial, let
alone the same one several times a day. So flooding your poor followers
with nothing but BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK is not going to
sell a single copy, and will more than likely get you unfollowed. Give
the repeated content some variety, switch the words around, say the same
thing in different words, etc.

Here are four tweets I sent out for one of my books when Sizzler Editions was giving it away free one weekend:

He drank blood but wasn’t a
vampire. Even he didn’t know what he was! Free 14-16thh Manlove novel

#Free 14-16th #Manlove #Vampire classic complete in one ebook Running Dry by @MChristianzobop

Like #Manlove #Paranormal
#Romance? M. Christian blazes a new trail in Running Dry only

#Free this weekend only Lambda Finalist M. Christian’s gay vampire classic Running Dry

In addition to varying the wording of what is essentially
the same information, you can parcel out different bits of information
about the same event, in a way that’s easy for late-afternoon or evening
tweet-readers to catch up on whatever you’d posted in the morning. Say
you were going to a convention where you would be on a panel and also
reading. Don’t write one tweet about it. Write a tweet about the fact
that you will be there and the dates; another about being on the panel
and when it is scheduled; a third about your reading, and when and

Another feature of Twitter (and other social media
platforms) that a lot of people ignore when sending out info is
autosharing. In short, this means that whatever you post to one place
gets automatically shared to others. Let’s say I have a blog. Using RSS
Graffiti, whatever I post there is picked up on Facebook. Let’s also say
I have a Tumblr (I actually have seven). With Tumblr’s built-in system I
can share (or not) what I post on it to Twitter and then to Facebook.
There is also a setting in Twitter that passes your tweets along to
Facebook as well. These settings let you decide what’s automatically
reposted where, so your aunt Betty doesn’t end up hearing about your new
erotic novel unless you want her to.

It can be a tad confusing—to put it mildly—but it saves a
lot of time and effort to automate these things. That said, one word of
warning: you want to be careful with a quantity-driven thing like
Twitter that you don’t choke your slower-rate social media places like
Facebook with too many autoshared reposts—that’ll start to get pretty
spammy. Hootsuite, nicely, allows me to post to Facebook as well as
Twitter, so I can vary the number of posts I send out to match the
nature of the media venue. It may take a bit of trial and error to get
this all balanced for rate and time and such but it’s really worth the

Pay attention, as well, to hashtags…though the #trick with
#these is #not to overuse #them as your post will look really #silly.
You can check trending tags and use those—but all that means is that
yours will compete with millions of others. Far better to use them only
for what you are really writing about, and then only a few per post.

And retweet items you find important, amusing or interesting. Remember, Twitter is supposed to be social media: meaning that the goal isn’t to talk at people but to them. Tweeting a lot but not actually communicating useful or interesting information is going to get you zilch.

Relatedly, don’t, as too many people do, ignore retweets of your tweets or mentions of your name. It’s not a quid pro quo
situation, but it’s nice to pause and acknowledge that someone cared
enough to spread your tweets further out into the world. Being ignored,
specially by a writer whose career, or books, you have retweeted or
shared…well, it doesn’t take much of that for a “follow” to turn into an

Sure, Twitter too often sounds like a parrot who’s been
sitting next to the television for too long and is about as deep as a
Justin Bieber song—but the fact remains that, if you approach it
intelligently and efficiently, it can be a valuable source of marketing
for writers.

Just, as with all social media, try not to get sucked into
spending so much time playing with it that you don’t #get #any #writing

M. Christian

Calling M.Christian versatile is a tremendous understatement.
Extensively published in science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and even non-fiction, it is in erotica that M.Christian has become an acknowledged master, with stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and in fact too many anthologies, magazines, and sites to name. In erotica, M.Christian is known and respected not just for his passion on the page but also his staggering imagination and chameleonic ability to successfully and convincingly write for any and all orientations.

But M.Christian has other tricks up his literary sleeve: in addition to writing, he is a prolific and respected anthologist, having edited 25 anthologies to date including the Best S/M Erotica series; Pirate Booty; My Love For All That Is Bizarre: Sherlock Holmes Erotica; The Burning Pen; The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowksi); Confessions, Garden of Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant), and many more.

M.Christian's short fiction has been collected into many bestselling books in a wide variety of genres, including the Lambda Award finalist Dirty Words and other queer collections like Filthy Boys, and BodyWork. He also has collections of non-fiction (Welcome to Weirdsville, Pornotopia, and How To Write And Sell Erotica); science fiction, fantasy and horror (Love Without Gun Control); and erotic
science fiction including Rude Mechanicals, Technorotica, Better Than The Real Thing, and the acclaimed Bachelor Machine.

As a novelist, M.Christian has shown his monumental versatility with books such as the queer vamp novels Running Dry and The Very Bloody Marys; the erotic romance Brushes; the science fiction erotic novel Painted Doll; and the rather controversial gay horror/thrillers Finger's Breadth and Me2.

M.Christian is also the Associate Publisher for Renaissance eBooks, where he strives to be the publisher he'd want to have as a writer, and to help bring quality books (erotica, noir, science fiction, and more) and authors out into the world.

1 Comment

  1. Lisabet Sarai

    Okay – so have you noticed that any of this is affecting your sales, Chris?

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt



Pin It on Pinterest